Maine Republican Party Chairman Joel Stetkis endured a car crash interview with CNN on Tuesday in which he repeatedly refused to give any explanation as to why he opposes removing Donald Trump from the state's GOP primary ballot.
The Pine Tree State is scheduled to vote on who it wants as the Republican nominee to challenge President Joe Biden on Super Tuesday on March 5.
But Mr. Trump is currently out of the running in the state.
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows ruled on Dec. 28 that Mr. Trump would be disqualified from the ballot in her state, as he was in Colorado, under Section Three of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which bars anyone who has break his oath. of office by engaging in a rebellion from running for office.
Maine Republicans reacted angrily to Ms Bellows' decision and immediately vowed to challenge it, as did the Trump campaign, which filed its appeal on Tuesday.
But when repeatedly asked by CNN's Boris Sanchez to explain the specific legal basis for his objection to the Foreign Secretary's decision, Mr Stetkis was unable to provide an answer – other than to claim that the move was in principle anti-democratic.
Talking on the network News Central broadcast from his home in Augusta via Skype, Mr. Stetkis said: “I think the simplest way we can say this is really, you know, we have an unelected bureaucrat who likes to pretend she's a lawyer and literally takes away the choices of voters in Maine.
“You know, here in Maine and across the country, whether they like Donald Trump or not, you know, Bellows is wrong on so many levels and it's really embarrassing.”
Pressed by Mr Sanchez – who remained patient and amused throughout – to explain the exact nature of his opposition, Mr Stetkis insisted: “Her decision process was just wrong.”
Pressed again, he added: “Well, this has a lot more to do with, you know, suppressing the vote as opposed to Donald Trump. We would – we would oppose this decision, no matter what Republican [was running].”
Asked by Mr Sanchez why he thought Ms Bellows' decision was “arbitrary”, Mr Stetkis continued: “We're opposed to her taking away voters' rights to be able to choose the leader they want to vote for or not. “
Finally, tired of the anchor's insistence, the state GOP chairwoman returned to the fray: “No matter how many times you're asked, her decision is completely wrong.”
He even added that many conservative lawyers had already “given a lot of legal arguments about why he's wrong,” implying that he didn't have to.
Finally, Mr. Sanchez concluded the segment by pointing out that the GOP chairman failed to offer any rationale for his argument.
“I think there is a legal argument to be made. You don't seem to have made the exact legal argument and flaw you see in her decision,” the CNN anchor said.
“Still, Joel, we're grateful to have you and your point of view. Thank you very much for being with us. And happy New Year.”
Announcing her verdict on Mr. Trump's candidacy last week, Ms. Bellows wrote: “I am mindful that no secretary of state has ever denied a presidential candidate access to the ballot box based on the Third Section of the Fourteenth amendment.
“I'm also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever been involved in an insurgency.”
It has since reported receiving “threatening communications” from voters loyal to Mr Trump.